Adopting a Housing First Approach - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Adopting a Housing First Approach

Emergency shelters are not a long-term housing option. Under A Plan for Alberta – Ending Homelessness in Alberta, government has adopted the Housing First approach to address homelessness – an important shift from managing homelessness to ending homelessness.

What is the Housing First approach?

This means that permanent housing is provided along with support services. Providing support services helps formerly homeless people maintain their housing over the long term.

Does this cost more?

Studies show it can cost upwards of $100,000 per year in health, emergency and justice system services to support a chronically homeless person. Under Housing First, it costs approximately $40,000 - $45,000 per year to provide permanent housing and the supports they need to break the cycle of homelessness. This cost would include intensive case management supports (supporting housing retention, access to other community-based services), medical services including addictions and mental health supports, connections to financial and employment supports where appropriate, and other basic needs.

Outreach Support Services

Under Alberta’s homelessness plan, funding is being provided to community-based organizations (CBOs) in the seven major cities, which work with community partners to deliver services necessary to meet the unique needs of the homeless. These organizations provide funding to homeless serving agencies in seven cities in Alberta, (Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge). Nearly $93 million is invested in Housing First and other homeless support outreach programming delivered by the CBOs.

Funding is used for supports such as intensive medical, psychiatric and case management services to help people resolve the underlying causes of their homelessness. These services are key to ending homelessness, because they help those who are now housed to stay housed and keep on track to independence.

Modified: 2018-07-18
PID: 15698